The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs Essay

The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs Essay

Length: 975 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Slavery in the middle of the 19th century was well known by every American in the country, but despite the acknowledgment of slavery the average citizen did not realize the severity of the lifestyle of the slave before slave narratives began to arise. In Incidents in the life of a slave girl, Harriet Jacobs uses an explicit tone to argue the general life of slave compared to a free person, as well as the hardships one endured on one’s path to freedom. Jacobs fought hard in order to expand the abolitionist movement with her narrative. She was able to draw in the readers by elements of slave culture that helped the slaves endure the hardships like religion and leisure and the middle class ideals of the women being “submissive, past, domestic, and pure” in this society (Vaught). The forceful argument made by Jacobs was able to evoke readers to the abolitionist movement and slavery as a whole. Harriet Jacobs achieves her objective of mobilizing northern women towards the acceptance of emancipation by highlighting the hardships of female slaves.
Religion was both a part of the slaves as well as their masters daily life in the plantation south. The second Great Awakening led to the belief of hope in the slaves lives to eventually escape the horrors of the South. Harriet Jacobs believed that Christianity was used by masters to reason their wrongdoings and prevent people from mobilizing emancipation of the slaves. The plantation owners allowed ministers to go into the slave quarters to teach them religion in the hope they would show them to love God, and obey masters, but instead they got that God keeps score and we should find our “Promise land of our emancipation (Vaught Lecture 20). Harriet Jacobs grew up valiant as, “ She was usua...


... middle of paper ...


... pain and suffering of slavery and how women were impacted by this.
As a whole slave women were supposed to remain submissive to their masters many women conformed to the ways of society, but unlike others, Harriet Jacobs became bold through this and began to take on a system that was bigger than she could even imagine. Harriet was able to provoke her readers as she told her story, gain confidence in herself, and her freedom throughout her lifetime. This is an effective argument because it awoke the Northern women from her sentiments towards the oppression of women in slavery. Harriet Jacobs is able to use elements that mainly women can relate to in order to gain new followers that would have never been exposed before. Although many slave narratives had been released during this era, this was the first one that focused on women and feminism prior to the civil war.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs Essay

- The two slave narratives Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by Himself provide two different perspectives on the institution of slavery. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl depicts a female perspective of slavery in the 1850s while The Interesting Narrative of the Life... provides a male perspective from almost a hundred years before. Although written at different times from different perspectives, both works illustrate the tragic reality of American slavery....   [tags: Atlantic slave trade, Slavery, British Empire]

Better Essays
761 words (2.2 pages)

Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl: Harriet Jacobs Essay

- Harriet Jacobs and The Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl From 1813 to 1879, lived a woman of great dignity, strong will, and one desire. A woman who was considered nothing more than just a slave girl would give anything for the freedom for herself and her two children. Harriet Jacobs, who used the pen name Linda Brent, compiled her life into a little book called Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Mrs. Jacobs' story, once read, will leave nothing but pity and heart ache for her readers as they discover the life she had to endure....   [tags: Harriet Jacobs Biography Slave]

Free Essays
1478 words (4.2 pages)

The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs Essay

- Slavery in the middle of the 19th century was well known by every American in the country, but despite the acknowledgment of slavery the average citizen did not realize the severity of the lifestyle of the slave before slave narratives began to arise. In Incidents in the life of a slave girl, Harriet Jacobs uses an explicit tone to argue the general life of slave compared to a free person, as well as the hardships one endured on one’s path to freedom. Jacobs fought hard in order to expand the abolitionist movement with her narrative....   [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]

Better Essays
975 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on The Life Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

- Just like any other narrative, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” by Harriet Jacobs is a narrative telling about a slave 's story and what slaves go through as they execute the socioeconomic dictates of their masters. It is important to note that more than five thousand former slaves who were enslaved in North America had given an account of their slave life during the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of their narratives were published on books and newspaper articles. Most of the stories of these slaves were centered on the experiences of life in plantations, small farms owned by the middle class natives, mines and factories in the cities....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery]

Better Essays
1313 words (3.8 pages)

A Rose For A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs Essay

- In the book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Harriet Jacobs expresses to her readers the experiences she has as a slave girl in the Southern part of America. Her story begins as a sheltered child, to her father’s death, and her struggle to live independently and dignified as a slave. She is constantly degraded by her master, and is constantly in danger of being sexually exploited by her mistress’s husband. However her experiences helped her learn to fight for her right as a free individual, and to stand up to her sexual predator Dr....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, Human]

Better Essays
716 words (2 pages)

Essay on Women Of A Slave Girl By Harriet Jacobs

- Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is a perfect sentimental narrative. Sentimental lecture became popular with women in the 1850s. Sentimental themes shown in Jacobs’s work include the sacred bonds, separation, love, death, heartbreak, sacrifice, and emotional feelings and sympathy throughout the narrative. According to Nina Baym, in Harriet Jacobs autobiographical work, Jacobs sought to “capture the attention of Northern white women… to show them how slavery debased and demoralized women…[and] to create sympathy for her plight; she sought to win the respect and admiration of her readers for the courage with which she forestalled abuse and for the independence for which s...   [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]

Better Essays
2009 words (5.7 pages)

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs Essays

- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs Harriet Jacobs in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl uses clear detail and straightforward language, except when talking about her sexual history, to fully describe what it is like to be a slave. Jacobs says that Northerners only think of slavery as perpetual bondage; they don't know the depth of degradation there is to that word. She believes that no one could truly understand how slavery really is unless they have gone through it. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl do not only tell about the physical pains and hard labor that she went through....   [tags: Papers Slavery Harriet Jacobs Essays]

Better Essays
1719 words (4.9 pages)

Essay on Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

- Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl A recurring theme in, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, is Harriet Jacobs's reflections on what slavery meant to her as well as all women in bondage. Continuously, Jacobs expresses her deep hatred of slavery, and all of its implications. She dreads such an institution so much that she sometimes regards death as a better alternative than a life in bondage. For Harriet, slavery was different than many African Americans....   [tags: Slavery Jacobs Life Slave Girl Essays]

Better Essays
1478 words (4.2 pages)

Power of Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Essay

- The Power of Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Harriet Jacobs, in the preface to her book, wrote: I do earnestly desire to arouse the women of the North to a realizing sense of the condition of two millions of women at the South, still in bondage, suffering what I suffered, and most of them far worse.  I want to add my testimony to that of abler pens to convince the people of the Free States what Slavery really is (335). With this statement, Jacobs specified her purpose for writing and her intended audience.  This insight gives readersan understanding of why she chose to include what she did in her story as well as why she chose to exclude other details.  Although thi...   [tags: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl]

Better Essays
642 words (1.8 pages)

Octavia Butler's Kindred vs. Harriet Jacobs' Incidents In The Life of a Slave Girl

- Octavia Butler's Kindred vs. Harriet Jacobs' Incidents In The Life of a Slave Girl According to 'the conventions for slave narratives', it is possible to categorize Kindred by Octavia Butler as a slave narrative. However, the circumstances that take Dana back in time are imaginative and fantastical compared to slave narratives such as Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs. While reading Kindred, one doesn't really get the experience of the slaves, but how Dana feels as she participates in slave times....   [tags: Jacobs Slave Girl Butler Kindred Essays]

Better Essays
1036 words (3 pages)